“Finally, we can definitely answer one of the questions”, wrote us Evgeny Balamutenko on the mystery of the now famous Hipster Time Traveller attending the reopening of South Fork Bridge in 1941.
“The photo is 100% REAL. NTV Russian television crew was filming there [last week] at the museum and found the original photo in one of the albums. I held it in my hands.”
And to prove it, just check the moment the Russian investigators found the photograph in one of the photo albums at the Bralorne-Pioneer Museum:
A historical moment? Well, for this wonderful story the second most important question has been answered and now we know the photo is there at the museum and is indeed real.
It wasn’t found before because Bralorne is actually a very small community, and the museum was closed during winter time. It’s been only in recent months that this single photo among the whole collection caught the world’s attention, going as far as Russia.
As Balamutenko wrote us, Sally Bird, president of the Bralorne-Pioneer Historical Society, opened their doors for the TV crew, and there they finally found the photo among the many items and exhibits.
The most important question however is still unanswered. Who was this guy?
He could be “a hockey player or a holiday-maker. I found a couple of photos of similar-looking guys in the archives of the Bralorne Museum”, tells Balamutenko. In the very same virtual exhibit, for instance, one can find this other photo from the Bralorne Mines:
Protective glasses and a thick glove used only in one hand. Just as our Time Traveller?
On the ongoing investigation, the NTV crew also spoke to Norm Gronskey, a local historian. “He seems to be the only living witness of the event. He was 11 at that time, and he could not remember anything strange on that day. But he may have been out of the main crowd, or his memory might easily fail him. He said that the outfit was not strange for that time, this kind of sunglasses, photo camera, etc. were not that unusual for those days.” Our original post was all about it, nothing unusual for those days.
The crew even found a possible name: Edward Russel.
“In the Lilloet news archives we found a short article (just a week before the reopening of the bridge), that read: ‘Visiting his uncle and aunt, L.A.C. Edward Russel came to stay his leave with the Creamers. Two and a half years has he put in with the RCAF and his duties are navigating. L.A.C. Russel stands 6′ 4-1/2" and expects to become a pilot officer when they make cockpits larger." This guy came from UK, this year they were given this kind of glasses (as part of the uniform).”
The height and the glasses would be a match, but still, no confirmation. People had suggested the man could also be Albert Wihksne, who lived in the region and who had another photo of the reopening of the bridge. But his son John doesn’t think he was the hipster we are looking for.
Of course, he could still be a time traveller. “I would certainly not exclude that”, considers Balamutenko. Indeed it’s still a possibility, especially now that the original photo has been located.
A very remote possibility, but a fascinating one – and until we positively identify the hipster, he could be a miner, a visitor, an aviator… or a time traveller.
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[With great thanks to Evgeny Balamutenko and congratulations to the whole NTV crew for the find]
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